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With heavy heart I give you my last Harry Potter review

And to my dismay I can’t grasp why this is also my first. I searched my blog’s archive and I was surprised to find out that I have not written a single review about any of the movies or books. All my HP related entries were mainly promotions for the movies. In this case I will pour out everything into this one post. As some of you may have, I came to know Harry Potter through the first film, Sorcerer’s Stone in 2001. I was in high school back then and I can still remember how the fascination for this cute, wide-eyed, bespectacled, wizard boy with a lightning scar on his forehead exploded; I’m telling you most of my classmates’ notebooks were covered with cut-out pictures of him and even had posters on their bedroom walls. That time I wasn’t particularly interested, eventually I got more curious when Chamber of Secrets premiered but still I regarded it as children stuff. I knew then there were books from which they were based upon but it wasn’t until Prisoner of Azakaban in 2004 (one of the best both in movie and novel aspects) where I really started following and got the urge to read the novels. But being a late-bloomer when it comes to reading (in everything more like it) and by that I mean it wasn’t until 2008 where I picked up my first novel (Twilight) and since then regularly visited bookshops and carried with me a book almost everywhere I go. Going back, this was when Sirius Black came into the picture and the theme got evidently dark. I especially enjoyed the “time-turner” portion of the story. I wished then that Hogwarts was real and somehow a Hagrid-like character would barge in one day at our house to tell me that I was a wizard and that I didn’t belong in the muggle world (hehe). Then Goblet of Fire came and I was a huge fan already. I was eagerly anticipating its release and if I remember it right I even watched on the first screening. I loved the idea that there were other magic schools and the Tri-wizard tournament was the highlight of that year. 2007 brought along Order of the Phoenix and I was obsessed; I knew all the characters, memorized the spells/magical objects, cheered on Quidditch – to think I still haven’t read the books. This was when the rebellion went in full swing and things started heating up. Suddenly it wasn’t so much about school since You-Know-Who was back.

And then it was time, I finally got the novels. It’s a bit weird since I bought first the last 4 books. The reason was I couldn’t find a hardbound copy of the first one – yes it had to be in hard cover and besides I don’t think my pocket can handle buying all at once 😀 . So I decided since I wanted to finish up to the last book before the last of the movie installments come out. That was when I realized how the books are so much more intricate and amazing and magical – yes that’s the word, magical. It truly is. You might say, “Well that’s because they’re wizards moron”. But it’s not so much because they have wands and can conjure spells or that they use owls to send out mails and fly on brooms but more of how the world was created and thought of; how it all came together and laid out. I am astonished on how the idea of this boy came to Rowling while riding a train to London. By the time Half-blood Prince was in cinemas I gobbled up the entire set including the first 3. Dumbledore died in this chapter of the series and his past was uncovered. Indeed, a chaotic time in the wizarding world. It was my first time to watch with the story in mind so normally I had moments where I said, “hey, that’s not how it happened” or “that wasn’t in the book”. Overall it was still a good interpretation. Generally, the books are usually superior but over the years the Harry Potter movies were some of the best adaptations from a literary work. The tweaks in the story here and there are necessary to properly translate it into a visual piece, smooth out the narration and of course, fit it into roughly more than 2 hours of screening time.

The epic finale was divided into two parts and it is a warranted decision for the producers because there is no way it could fit into one; so much would’ve been compromised. Although the Deathly Hallows novel was introduced in 2007, you still have something to look forward to that’s why I couldn’t believe it was truly the end when both installments came out. Reading it, I cried as the conclusion drew closer and page by page all questions are answered. I started sobbing practically when Harry, upon seeing Snape’s memories through the pensieve, discovered he needed to die to destroy Voldemort. I was stunned, I couldn’t accept it. I even loathed how Dumbledore and Snape were portrayed differently afterwards like the roles switched. Albus was not altogether innocent and Severus was, in a way, a brave hero. But I’ve learned to accept it, that’s how emotionally attached I am. The darkest moment was the battle at Hogwarts especially when some of our beloved characters died. The film was just as engrossing. I’m in full praise to David Yates because I can only imagine how difficult it must’ve been to stay true to the novel and please the fans. I can say that it was a masterpiece both visually and in storytelling. In the end, the good prevailed. It always does. I think the epilogue was also like cherry on top of ice cream. I appreciated that Rowling didn’t leave the story of our threesome open-ended. If I can just say though, there’s still a part in me that wishes that it should’ve been Hermione and Harry together but I love Ron so it’s fine. Lastly, I want to thank J.K. Rowling because although Harry Potter was not exactly a part of my childhood it sure brought out the kid in me again and it felt good. It was a wonderful sort of journey going through all the books and movies throughout the years. Let me end this post with the last words in the novel that I thought was just beautiful: “The scar had not pained Harry for nineteen years. All was well.” (sniff sniff) 🙂

Dark of the Moon: A dull explosion of CGI

At long last I have ample time to write a post! Between the month-end and quarter-end tasks I had in work (don’t ask), there was just no way I could fit in drafting an entry for my blog; weekends weren’t even enough for rest. I have 3 reviews in mind to write so I’ll just get on it and start with this one. Two weeks ago, on a regular Saturday afternoon I was able to watch Transformers: Dark of the Moon with the family (read: sister and niece, my parents don’t watch these things). It comes off from the idea that man’s first landing on the moon is a cover-up for an investigation of an ark that crash-landed there. While it is confirmed that this is Michael Bay’s last time directing the franchise, I’m not sure if there should be a fourth.

I won’t say it’s horrible but one thing’s for sure it’s unremarkable. It’s bad when you have to course through the whole thing in your head just to come up with your favorite part(s). The visual effects were right on as usual maybe even unparalleled for the time being but it didn’t excite me. My fave scene (I decided) was when Shia, Rosie and Tyrese were being chased by Shockwave in that massive building. Cool stuff right there. But it dragged on for the most parts and at some point I uttered to myself, “just get it over with!” It’s like they held back on the action and gave a generous amount of time for the build-up of the story but it wasn’t nearly as effective or convincing as they liked it to be. Quite frankly I enjoyed Revenge of the Fallen better despite the tirade of criticisms because I took it as it is: mindless action and CGI overload. I even like how that movie shifted from action to comedy in a snap. I didn’t expect it but the hilarity was a bonus. Now the movie lost that too like it was trying so hard to be taken seriously. Then again, alien robots taking over the earth is not exactly comedic.

My other problem is you don’t sympathize with the characters anymore; not the humans and certainly not the robots. Aren’t you tired of Megatron already? I don’t know why it became tedious all of a sudden, maybe familiarity. Some of the new cast were passable; sadly I’m not pertaining to Rosie Huntington more like Frances Mcdormand. Patrick Dempsey plays some evil bastard kinda like how I see his character in Grey’s Anatomy (hehe). Ken Jeong was not allowed to go ape-shit in his short stint but at least John Turturo was still there. Anyways, Rosie was – how do I put this? To quote somewhere: has as much charm as a dead slug. The men liked her there’s no doubt about that but why did you have to go Megan Fox? It seems so to abandon a sinking ship. Tyrese got more screen time but why is Josh Duhamel always on the side lines? Shia seems to have outgrown his character; his save-the-world-i-wanna-prove-myself act just doesn’t work anymore. The verdict? This movie lacks the entertainment value of its predecessors and can easily be forgotten.

Hangover 2 Brought The Crazy All The Way To Bangkok

If the producers wanted to make the first movie look tamed then they definitely succeeded. My eyes haven’t recovered yet from all things I saw in there. And if you have watched both movies then you’d know it literally is like déjà vu which is both good and bad. Good, since it’s hilarious how the wolf pack (somehow the name stuck) never learn their lesson and how you can connect the things that happened in Vegas to this time in Bangkok. It’s bad for me since you cannot expect more from it other than that, ya its crazier in a whole new level but somehow I still think the first one is more funny and authentic.

Alan (Zach Galifianakis) really is the root of all the mayhem and he delivered most of the funny moments. Stu (Ed Helms) is comical mainly because of all the predicament he gets into and its nasty I tell ya. Phil (Bradley Cooper is just insanely hot), though not as amusing, is necessary to lead the pack in figuring out what happened to Stu’s missing would be brother-in-law, Teddy played by Mason Lee who is just adorable. Now Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong) is just LMFAO outrageous in this! Without doubt, he stole some of the spotlight. I just wish that Doug (Justin Bartha) got on in the action as well which means more screen time. Fans of the first one will not be disappointed but don’t expect too much.

Kung Fu Panda 2 is also awesome if not awesome-r

After being chosen as the Dragon Warrior, Po is pretty much the same: funny and fat (hehe). But being a master of kung fu himself, he’s got no problem protecting the Valley of Peace alongside the Furious Five and they’ve got great teamwork especially with their special moves. Trouble came in the person peacock of Lord Shen in Gongmen City with his wolf warriors as he threatens to conquer the world and destroy kung fu with the art of using fireworks as weapon. Master Shifu, who sadly has less screen time, ordered the gang to help but Po is a bit distracted because he wants to discover who he really is since Mr. Ping, the goose if I may add, might not be his real father after all (hilarious right?). So there’s a bit of focus with Po’s background and we get to know more about him. If the first movie’s moral lesson is “the secret ingredient”, this time it’s about finding inner peace.

The movie definitely features more action and awesome sequences which the kids can enjoy and there are still plenty of laughs. Its funny all throughout and also shows a very warm, heartfelt moment in the end (almost cried). The Kung Fu Panda series is one of the better Dreamworks animation ever. I still prefer the first one though because there are more remarkable parts especially with Po being the awkward, kung fu fanatic panda. But I don’t wanna take away from this film since it’s also good, clean fun. 🙂

On Stranger Tides: Same old formula but hey, it works!

Already the 4th offering from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, you would think that Captain Jack Sparrow and his antics may get old but apparently he still has it or Johnny Depp for that matter. And the public agreed since it became the 3rd biggest weekend opening worldwide and now the biggest film of 2011 so far. On Stranger Tides still captures the humor of the first 3; I should know since I found it funny though I’m not a huge follower of the series. I can’t even remember their complete titles but in the end I saw why the film is such a hit. The producers have made it a point to always maintain a GP theme, that way kids also enjoy it and frankly this movie started the idea that Pirates are not all scary but rather amusing. And although it has been the same tried and tested formula since the first one, as long as they keep the audiences laughing and entertained then a 5th one wouldn’t hurt one bit.

I was disappointed that Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley didn’t make it this sequel but new eye-candies were cast (sorry I’m not a Depp fanatic) in the persons of Penelope Cruz (Angelica) and Sam Claflin (Philip). Angelica is introduced as Sparrow’s ex and turns out to be Blackbeard’s daughter who’s in search for the Fountain of Youth to counter a prophecy that predicts his mortal fate. For the water from the fountain to work they would need a mermaid’s tear to use in 1 of the 2 cups to drink from, that being the one that extends the life of the person who drinks it, the other giving the opposite. Enter the freaky mermaids who after alluring their prey turns vicious and does a Spider-man move – go figure haha. Philip, a missionary held captive by Blackbeard, falls in love with the mermaid and creates a pleasant diversion from all the insanity caused by this fountain. To wrap this up, Blackbeard got tricked into drinking from the wrong cup meanwhile Angelica will not die soon, I’m sure.

I didn’t get why the movie was titled On Stranger Tides but I found out it is a book where they based the movie from. And I didn’t know there was a post-credits scene! Shucks! Oh well, have to see that one for myself. Johnny Depp is the main reason the movies are such huge blockbusters, he’s the bond that holds everything together.

Hangover and Deathly Hallows sequels release new posters!

Both are big sequels coming out this year. HP7 is actually the 2nd part finale and I can’t freaking wait for July! Waaaaaaaaa!!!! Pardon my fanboy alter-ego. I love the face-off theme of the poster, we’re in for a gruesome treat.

The Hangover was such a smash in 2009 that they decided to make Part 2 and this time the gang hits Bangkok dangerous, hehe. Looks like they’re in a lot of trouble once again which will be fun to watch. I got a feeling that monkey will be a pain in their ass. My only problem here is, where is Justin Bartha??? Hope he’s still part of the movie.

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